From the Minnesota House Republicans:
A quick update for you with a roundup and some talking points about the end of special session. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Special Session goes Sine Die (adjourns without any future date being designated)
Despite optimism late Friday evening that deals could be reached on a variety of outstanding items, the House and Senate both adjourned sine die after 6AM Saturday morning. Leader Daudt spoke briefly before session adjourned which you can watch here. Leader Daudt has taken a leading role in working to end the Governor’s emergency powers, and progress has been made toward ending the governor’s peacetime emergency and restoring the legislature’s role as a co-equal branch of government.
In an early morning speech Senator Gazelka pointed the finger squarely at the governor. He said that overnight, he and the Speaker had agreed to pass the CARES Local Funding bill clean in exchange for $58 million in spending offset directly by savings identified by the administration.
But Democrats went silent on the Senate, stopped sending information, and refused to respond to requests for draft language. Sen. Gazelka said “I know that the governor again was involved in trying to defeat things that are good for Minnesota,” and added that “if the governor had not been twisting arms throughout the night […and] because of the undermining of the process” he was opting to adjourn sine die rather than adjourn until Monday.
Gov. Walz held a brief media availability earlier this afternoon expressing disappointment with the Senate for adjourning. Notably he suggested twice that he could disperse the funds to local governments in the manner agreed to by the legislature — something he should be held accountable for.
CARES ACT Local Funding
Last weekend, all four caucuses reached an agreement to distribute $841 million in CARES Act Funding passed by the feds specifically set aside for local units of government. The Senate passed the bipartisan compromise bill last Tuesday 62-4. The governor then insisted on adding in unrelated demands that had not been agreed upon.
The Pioneer Press reported: “There wasn’t much controversy from lawmakers about allocating the money to local governments; on Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Senate passed such a plan 62-4. However, it became mired in controversy after the Democratic majority in the House, at the urging of Walz, a Democrat, tacked on some $152 million in unrelated spending…”
The Star Tribune also reported: “The remaining roadblock stems from a late effort by the House DFL majority to add amendments funding other legislative priorities. Democrats tacked on a list of spending items..”
Democrats chose politics and their loyalty to the governor of what’s best for communities across the state. They torpedoed a bipartisan deal to distribute federal money by adding on the Governor’s unrelated spending demands.
Police/Criminal Justice Bills
Instead of working to build consensus, Democrats opted to push partisan bills and rejected good faith offers that included bills they had personally written. It’s disappointing that when they were given the opportunity to pass bipartisan bills, Democrats took an “all-or-nothing” approach, and decided nothing was better than passing things both sides agreed on. Until late in the evening last night, Democrats continued to push things like felon voting that have nothing to do with police reform.
The Senate put forward an offer yesterday evening, which again included many proposals that initiated with the DFL. The DFL responded with an offer that included nearly everything they initially proposed, dropping just two of their many controversial proposals.
Taxes, Bonding, and Emergency Powers
House Republicans will continue to push for a tax relief bill and an end to the governor’s emergency powers. Leader Daudt made clear earlier this session that the House GOP would not pass a bonding bill until the Governor’s emergency powers ended, and has stuck to that through the end of the regular session and special session.
The Governor must call the legislature back again on July 13 if he wishes to extend his emergency powers, and once again the legislature will have an opportunity to end the governor’s peacetime emergency and restore the legislature’s role as a co-equal branch of government.